|Our Feathered Friends, Dec. 22|
|Wednesday, December 22, 2010|
By RAY POPE
First of all, I would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas. Some people seem to stray away from that word, as if it’s politically incorrect, using the word “holiday” instead. If it wasn’t for the birth of our Savior, Jesus, there would be no holiday, period, so rejoice and be thankful that we celebrate his birth.
My feeders have been running over with all the activity from the many different species eating there. The Goldfinch have been ignoring the special feeders for them which got me outdoors to see why they were not eating their Purina Finch Feast. Back when we had the rainy period with high wind gust the rain blew into the feeders at the food ports and caused a problem with the tiny holes becoming blocked. Now that I took the feeders apart, washed them and refilled them, the Goldfinch are back eating and seem to be happy. Sometimes the actions of your avian friends will let you know when there is some kind of a problem with your feeders.
With all the snow we had, there was a great probability of having unusual birds feeding in your yard. My good friend, Karen Franklin, sent me several pictures asking for help in identifying some of the different species. Karen was pretty sure of what she was seeing, but needed her “bird guru’s” help just to be sure. First of all she had the normal birds there along with a few she was not sure of. She always has a male White-throated Sparrow that finds her yard year after year. After looking at Karen’s picture, I was positive that she had Song Sparrows at her home. A little later, I received another photo of a different bird.
Karen was right on when she thought that she had a Fox Sparrow. Karen is a fast learner on her birds and I can’t wait till we can get out in the field and do some serious looking. Backyard birding is a lot of fun, but when you can get out in the wild areas of our county, you stand a better chance of seeing “better” birds. I am trying to get Karen to write me a story on birds that I will use as a guest writer situation in the near future. You never know how long you will have on this earth, so maybe she will be the one to replace me after Judd Sellars carries me away on my final ride.
The Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) is our largest of the Sparrow species here in our area during the winter months. They were so named because of the rusty red color of their tail and the thickly marked breast that reminded earlier naturalist of the Red Fox. Fox Sparrows spend their summer months up in the far reaches of Canada where they breed. You will find them here feeding on the ground where they scratch in the leaf litter with both feet. Most of the ones that I have seen have been out in the country. Karen was lucky to have one at her home.
Here lately, I have been spending a lot of time at our Lebanon-Wilson County Library doing a little research. I would like to thank a couple of workers there who have been a great deal of help to me. Diana Dickerson is one of the young helpers and also enjoys “Our Feathered Friends.” Another of my favorites is Tamela Harris, who has also become a friend on Facebook. If you need help there at the library, they have several workers who would be happy to assist you. I just happen to have my favorites.